Elsewhere today I asserted that Cole Hamels had been the best pitcher in the majors since the All-Star Break. I had no particular numbers to back this up, as BB-Ref doesn't have "split" leaderboards, so I thought about how to go about figuring it out. Then I wondered whether there was a way to estimate how good a pitcher is right at this moment. Season-long stats don't tell you this; they average out slumps, effects of nagging injuries, mastering new pitches, etc.What I came up with is a weighted average, using the ordinal number of the pitcher's start as the weight - e.g. the pitcher's first game is weighted 1, the second is weighted 2, etc. This makes the pitcher's most recent starts much more important in the weighted average than the earliest starts, so if he's on a hot or cold streak it will reflect that. I think this would be a more accurate reflection of his true quality at any particular moment than looking at a short stretch of starts, as a hot or cold streak can reflect some luck and including the earlier starts in the average helps factor that out.
Putting this together was a major pain in the ass - I spent the better part of the last four hours on it. It required copying-and-pasting Hamels' game logs from BB-Ref into a spreadsheet, deleting the rows that don't contain data, then inserting columns and formulae for the calculated data (H/9, BB/9, etc. don't appear in the game logs) plus a whole set of additional columns for the weighted data. I started out with the logs for Halladay and Oswalt as well but got bogged down and don't have numbers to show at this time.
Without further ado, here are Hamels' numbers, both straight averages and weighted:
As you can see, Hamels' numbers improve almost across the board, the only exception being his walk rate has trended up over the season, so his weighted walk rate is higher.
I wish I could show numbers for other pitchers. I'm going to have to pretty much start over to get this into a format where I can easily copy-and-paste logs and have it automatically do the rest; maybe next week I'll have time to do that. I can say that before I scrapped Halladay and Oswalt's numbers from my spreadsheet I was able to tell that Hamels' weighted ERA and K/9 were the best of the three; Halladay still had a big lead in BB/9 and K/BB though. Halladay's weighted ERA is higher than his straight ERA, while Oswalt's is lower.
Thoughts? Did I just waste a huge amount of time on this?